If you take a stroll through Colorado State University’s campus between now and Sunday, it’s impossible not to know what weekend it is.
Between the students taking pictures in caps and gowns in front of their respective college buildings, those popping champagne during picnics in the Oval, and the friends and families gushing with pride, it’s evident graduation season at CSU has arrived.
Twelve ceremonies this weekend will celebrate nearly 6,000 graduates from Colorado State’s undergraduate, graduate and Professional Veterinary Medicine programs, marking significant achievements in graduates’ lives.
“Commencement ceremonies remind us that there is a profound legacy to which we are all connected as CSU Rams,” Provost and Executive Vice President Mary Pedersen said in a university news release. “ … Our graduating students will forever be part of CSU’s legacy and history, and they should take enormous pride in that.”
Graduates this year persisted through a unique period of learning due to the COVID-19 pandemic, facing challenges classes before they hadn’t.
But thanks to declining case numbers and CSU’s strong response to COVID-19, classes returned to normal for much of this year, and these graduates — unlike last year’s — will celebrate their milestone with a traditional ceremony. CSU had a mask mandate in place for much of this school year and required students and staff to be vaccinated and boosted against COVID.
Last spring, when case numbers were still high in Fort Collins and CSU had yet to enact a vaccine mandate, traditional ceremonies were canceled and graduates were invited to participate in an in-person “ceremonial walk” around the Oval. That process took place the week before spring break, after which students finished the semester remotely.
This year’s ceremonies, however, are taking place indoors at either Moby Arena or the Lory Student Center. Most of the 12 ceremonies will be livestreamed for those who aren’t able to attend in person.
Naylet Munoz Juarez, a first-generation graduate from the College of Liberal Arts, said that while she’s overwhelmed about leaving school, she’s mostly excited to enter the workforce and have a break. She’s also grateful her family de ella can watch her walk across a stage in a traditional ceremony.
“I’ve had a lot of friends who graduated within (the last) two years, and they didn’t get to do all the celebrations in person,” she said. “And now I’m going to be walking the stage, and they didn’t get to do that … I think for them it’s like, ‘You’re doing it for all of us at this moment.’”
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Three ceremonies — the Army and Air Force ROTC Commissioning, the College of Business ceremony and the Walter Scott Jr. College of Engineering ceremony — will have CSU alumnus US Army Gen. James H. Dickinson as their commencement speaker.
Dickinson earned his undergraduate degree in mechanical engineering, graduated from CSU’s Army ROTC program and earned his commission as a second lieutenant in the Air Defense Artillery in 1985.
He told CSU that his degree helped shape his life and career by teaching him a number of skills, including discipline, team building and “lifelong learning.”
“The mentality of always questing to learn new things is key, whether you’re learning about space, or taking an interest in the lives of those around you,” he told the university ahead of his speeches.
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Who are the 2022 Colorado State University graduates?
The majority of those receiving degrees this year — about 4,300 — are undergraduate students. The majority of undergrad students are graduating from the Liberal Arts and Natural Sciences colleges, followed by Health and Human Sciences.
There are also about 1,600 graduate students, 201 of whom will leave with doctorate degrees and 144 graduating doctors of veterinary medicine.
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Molly Bohannon covers education for the Coloradoan. Follow her on Twitter @molboha or contact her de ella at [email protected] Support her de ella work de ella and that of other Coloradoan journalists by purchasing a digital subscription today.